Autism spectrum condition can be referred to as ASC and is also commonly known as autism or autism spectrum disorder and includes Aspergers syndrome and pathological demand avoidance profile (PDA). It is a lifelong, developmental condition that can impact a person's social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. It’s important to note that, just like neurotypical people, people with ASC are unique. Whilst this page provides information about common difficulties for people with ASC, Navigate Therapy appreciates and respects the individuality of all people with ASC.

 

Social Interaction

This is an area that people with ASC can experience difficulty in recognising feelings or intentions and in expressing their own. They may struggle in imagining or predicting what others are thinking or feeling and imagining new situations. People with ASC may experience social anxiety and avoid interaction, and this can lead to isolation, breakdown of relationships and even prohibition of relationships forming.

 

Communication

Difficulties in this area can affect people with ASC’s ability to predict how others feel, what they will say, do or think, or put themselves in others’ position. People with ASC may struggle to recognise and respond typically to; tone, intonation, gestures, proximity, facial and body signs and also finds it difficult to gauge when to use these types of communication in different settings. Building effective relationships can be a struggle, which can cause missed opportunities for achieving rapport and influence.

 

Repetitive and obsessive behaviours 

Repetitive and obsessive behaviours are behaviours that develop as a therapeutic response to difficulties.They can provide structure, predictability and confidence. But the impact of society’s perception can affect people with ASC’s mood, anxiety state, sense of belonging and feeling of acceptance. Behaviours can include; spinning things, lining up, banging, doors, hand flapping, rocking or repetitive noises, or developing special enthusiasms or interests.

 

Sensory processing

The sensory system is constantly processing information. Interpreting and organizing it and using it to function. Taking in information from multiple senses at the same time, allowing seamless interaction with surroundings. So, for people with ASC, sensory processing issues occur when information is received but mixed up in the brain preventing organisation into appropriate responses. Senses include; touch, auditory, vision, taste, smell, body position (Vestibular), Body sense (Proprioception). When sensory information is mixed up, it can become overwhelming and intolerable. Especially when in conjunction with the other issues mentioned. This can lead to a sensory overload which can be distressing and confusing.

 

Planning abilities

People with ASC may experience limited planning ability. This can make it hard for them to sustain attention, shift between tasks, locating objects and remember the order of things. People with ASC may respond with difficulty to change and spontaneity which can cause great anxiety.

Camouflaging

People with ASC may mask their difficulties. External behaviour that doesn’t match their internal state can cause emotional and psychological conflict, increasing anxiety and low mood.

 

Seeking and responding to support

People with ASC can find it hard to recognise when or how they could seek or respond to support and can often reject help. Combined with the other difficulties already mentioned, this can cause feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

 

Mental Health

Due to issues with social interaction, communication, repetitive and obsessive behaviours, sensory processing issues, limited planning abilities and camouflaging, it is common for people with ASC to experience anxiety and low mood.

 

 

I have experience in working with people with ASC and a qualification in understanding ASC. I have also received training to make my practice accessible and adaptable to people with ASC.

 

I work in a person-centred way. This means I am committed to work in partnership with clients, with their best interests at heart. I am able to empathise and understand, in an accepting, non-judgemental way and I will respect and protect their rights, privacy, dignity and individuality. And I will strive to facilitate empowerment, inclusion, choice and equality.

When working with people with ASC I will strive to creatively adapt and adjust CBT and DBT to meet the strengths and needs of the client depending on their issues, developmental stage and age. To facilitate effective communication and create an accessible and engaging environment. Striving to understand their internal world alongside them. Working in partnership to make the changes they’d like to.

Adapted CBT and DBT approach

CBT targets thoughts, emotions, behaviours and physiological symptoms in the present to facilitate change. It is interactive and educational, with client and therapist working together to test perceptions and come up with more helpful alternatives.

DBT can help to develop mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance and relationship skills that can influence acceptance and change.

 

According to Autism.org (2020), many people with ASC find it useful to go to counselling. It can support coping strategies, relaxation techniques and relationship issues. Their unique skills mean CBT and DBT can be an effective intervention if suitably adapted. BACP (2020) says many people with ASC have effective verbal skills and can often speak openly and honestly. The strengths they have, related to the need for structure, and a scientific way of thinking, lend themselves to learning opportunities in behavioural experiments and to accurate information being assessed when challenging thoughts. Any special interests can be harnessed to build the therapeutic relationship and increase motivation which can lead to positive changes. 

 

We can work together to explore a tailored way of working that is right for you. 

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